En route to Hawaii

Yesterday morning we topped off Dirona’s fuel tanks, put on the storm plates, and locked down the outside furniture. We just cast off from Jack London Square in Oakland and are underway for Hilo, Hawaii. You can track the voyage on the real-time plot at  http://www.mvdirona.com/maps/LocationCurrent.html.

We’ve been monitoring weather conditions for a couple of weeks (via the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center, the US Navy Forecast Models, and GRIB data downloaded into our chartplotter program, MaxSea). It looks like we’ll have pretty decent conditions for the run. The video below shows a visualization of our route in MaxSea through modelled weather conditions using downloaded GRIB data. The GRIB data includes model wind speed, barometric pressure, and wave height, period and direction. The green areas are 5-8′ seas, yellow is 9-11′, and orange is 12-17′ seas. The model shows 5-8′ seas for most of the route, with a few points at 10′. And where we do see larger waves, the wave period is 10-11 seconds. Weather data isn’t really accurate much beyond five days, so conditions could deteriorate, but so far it looks good.

The decision to spend a few weeks in San Francisco before crossing to Hawaii worked out very well. We’ll skip some of the nastier weather that we’ve been watching hit the northwest coast of Washington state these past few weeks, and we had a great time exploring the Bay area. Below are some of what we’ve seen, and you also can display these on the map view.

09/12/12: Westpoint Harbor Marina
Lunch on deck in our new temporary home. Westpoint Harbor Marina is an impressive new facility with excellent services.
9/14/2012: Quarry Beach, Angel Island State Park
We’re anchored off the Quarry Beach, south of the remains of Fort McDowell. The anchorage is suprisingly sheltered, given how exposed it looks on the chart. One of the reasons we stopped here is the view in the other direction: to downtown San Franciso and the Bay Bridge. It should look amazing at night.
9/15/2012: Sausalito Police
Sausalito Police boat off Pt. Blunt with our view to San Francisco in the background.
9/15/2012: Racoon
The US Army Corps of Engineers landing craft Racoon, with a Sausalito Police escort, landed at the dock just south of our anchorage. Several dozen people got off, probably for a tour.
9/15/2012: Outriggers
Perhaps twenty outriggers rounded the point later that morning.
9/15/2012: Fort McDowell
We set off on a tour of the bay, first around Angel Island. More of the remains of Fort McDowell are visible north of Quarry Point.
9/15/2012: Winslow Cove
Old immigration station buildings at Winslow Cove. Several boats were anchored there–the cove has good wind shelter.
9/15/2012: Ayala Cove
Ayala Cove is the busiest anchorage on the island. The park has docks and mooring bouys here. To maximize the number of boats on the buoys, boats tie a both bow and stern to different bouys.
9/15/2012: Sailing
Sailboats filled the bay–outnumbering powerboats by at least 20:1. The predictable afternoon winds make sailing popular.
9/15/2012: Steep hills
Those famous San Francisco hills.
9/15/2012: Camp Reynolds
The US Army established Camp Reynolds, south of Point Knox, in 1864.
9/15/2012: Golden Gate Bridge
Back under the bridge.
9/15/2012: Golden Gate Yacht Club
Home of the America’s Cup.
9/15/2012: Ghiradelli building
9/15/2012: Sea lions
Sea lions at pier 39.
9/15/2012: The Bay Rocket
This boat moves!
9/15/2012: US Navy
One of two well-armed US Navy boats that sped past.
9/15/2012: Racing
About thirty Porche’s and a handful of other cars were running the course at the west end of Almeda Island.
9/15/2012: Hanjin Berlin
The Hanjin Berlin unloading at the Port of Oakland.
9/15/2012: Crane operator
9/15/2012: Passing under both Bay Bridges
The new Bay bridge is currently under construction beyond the existing bridge.
9/15/2012: Heeled over
Sailboat off Treasure Island.
9/15/2012: Richardson Bay
The city view from our anchorage at Richardson Bay is even better than last night.
9/15/2012: Gray Matter
We had dinner with Christine Guo and Mark Mohler aboard Gray Matter, anchored a short distance away. Mark and Christine had just completed the same trip we did, from Sidney B.C., a couple of weeks earlier.
9/21/2012: Space Shuttle Endeavour
The Space Shuttle Endeavour viewed from our flybridge at Westpoint Harbor Marina. The shuttle, mounted to the back of NASA’s modified 747, made a low pass over San Francisco this morning en route to its new home at the California Science Center.
9/22/2012: Dumbarton Bridge
Heading under the Dumbarton Bridge. We decided to take a short cruise south to anchor for the night. The morning is warm, sunny and calm.
9/22/2012: Bridge supports
The criss-crossing supports for the Dumbarton Bridge look rather elegant.
9/22/2012: Aqueduct
This aqueduct presumably is for carrying saltwater to the salt ponds.
9/22/2012: Old railway bridge
The chart says this railway bridge is permanently open. We can see why–the bridge is rotting away. And at the shore end, the bridge just ends in old pilings.
9/22/2012: Coyote Creek
Enjoying the sunny morning on the bow, anchored at the mouth of Coyote Creek. Nearby, down Alviso Slough, is the once-bustling town of Alivso.
9/22/2012: Sunset
Sunset with the lights of Palo Alto just starting to glow.
9/23/2012: Breakfast on deck
Another calm, warm and sunny morning. This was an excellent anchorage–quiet, private and relaxing. Yesterday’s prevailing afternoon winds generated some waves, but they were hardly noticable on board. And another bonus of being at anchor rather than docked is the bow faces into the wind, sheltering the cockpit.
9/28/2012: Robert G. Brownlee
The Marine Science Institute research vessel Robert G. Brownlee heading up Redwood Creek as we departed. The 90-foot ship is designed for carrying school students, and a group was on board.
9/28/2012: Team Oracle Racing
The Team Oracle Racing’s AC72 catamaran out for one of the boat’s first test runs. The huge boat, with a sail higher than 130 feet is incredibly fast. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Al Saracevic, following in a high-speed inflatable, reported their chase boat was doing 30 knots at one point and the catamaran was pulling away. Of the four chase boats we saw, some apparently were some manned by spies for the competition, including New Zealand’s Emirates Team.
9/28/2012: Coast Guard rescue diver
Nearby, the Coast Guard was practicing water rescues. The chopper was right near the waterline for ages. This video shows the diver retrieving the rescue dummy and being hoisted back up.
9/28/2012: Moore 24 National Championship
We just barely made it in front of the South Beach Yacht Club’s Moore 24 National Championship field as they headed east across the Bay.
9/28/2012: Good wind
That steady afternoon Bay wind propels this contender between us and the Bay bridge.
9/28/2012: America Foss
Beautiful tractor tug America Foss running south.
9/28/2012: Overseas Anacortes
The tanker Overseas Anacortes leaving the tanker port at Point Richmond. The channel there is quite narrow–we passed close by.
9/28/2012: Marshall Foss
Marshall Foss with a line running to the stern of the Overseas Anacortes.
9/28/2012: Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
The 5.5-mile Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was one of the longest in the world when completed in 1959.
9/28/2012: East Brother Island Light Station
The historic light station was build in 1873 and now is a bed-and-breakfast. That would be a wild place to stay.
9/28/2012: Intintoli
The high-speed Baylink ferry Intintoli en route to San Francisco from Vallejo. Baylink runs a seemingly contstant stream of ferries from Vallejo– we see several every time we’re out in the bay.
9/28/2012: Rodeo oil refinery
A view into the complexity of the Sonoco Phillips refinery at Rodeo. The refinery can produce 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
9/28/2012: C&H Sugar Refinery
C&H sugar refinery just east of the Carquinez Bridge. We’ll be seeing a lot more C&H facilities in a few weeks when we reach Hawaii.
9/28/2012: Traffic
Entering Mare Island Strait behind Baylink’sthe high-speed ferry Solana, that passed us just before entering the strait. And exiting is Baylink’s Vallejo.
9/28/2012: View homes
These houses that wrong the shore and cliff must have awesome sunset views.
9/28/2012: Wreck
Bait Me aground below the cliffs. The wind had been blowing a steady 20 knots from the southeast the past couple of hours. Looks like they can get a lot stronger.
9/28/2012: Shipyard cranes
Mare Island once was a Naval shipyard, but now is private.
9/28/2012: Baylink terminal
Solana moored at the Baylink’s ferry terminal.
9/28/2012: Vallejo Marina
Vallejo has a large marine that appears well-maintained.
9/28/2012: Mare Island Drawbridge
The Mare Island Drawbridge has a vertical clearance is 13′ closed. We expected we’d have to wait a while to get through, since it was close to rush-hour, but the operator opened the bridge right away after we radioed a lift request.
9/28/2012: Tug under Highway 37 bridge
The current at both bridges was surprisingly strong, especially at the highway 37 bridge, where the current tended to push the boat north. This tug is coming through on an angle, presumably to work against that north push. We watched from our anchorage just north of Dutchman Slough. The tug anchored nearby around 7pm, then left again sometime in the middle of the night. We’re guessing they were waiting for the tide to change.
9/28/2012: Sunset
Sunset over the marshes alongside Napa River. The anchorage is a little more open than we were expecting, but we have plenty of swing room compared to anything farther up-river. And once we were settled in, especially after the evening lights came up ashore, we quite liked the spot.
9/29/2012: At anchor on the Napa River
Taken from the dinghy before we ran up-river to Napa. It was going to be a beautiful day.
9/29/2012: Edgerly Island
At Edgerly Island, the river narrows and feels more intimate. The island is rimmed with houses, docks and boats.
9/29/2012: River anchorage
This powerboat was anchored mid-channel, where the river was calm and sheltered.
9/29/2012: Tug again
That powerboat’s anchorage seemed ideal, except when we went further up-river and saw the tug and barge that anchored near us last night. That would have been a tight squeeze if the powerboat was anchored overnight.
9/29/2012: Estuaries
Just short of the city, a couple of estuaries lead off. Each was packed with houses, docks and boats and looked like very nice places to live.
9/29/2012: Waterfowl
The river shores are full of wildlife. We didn’t see any fish jump, not anyone catch anything, but lots of fishers were on the banks as well.
9/29/2012: Geese
A gaggle of geese at Napa.
9/29/2012: Dinghy landing
Surprisingly, Napa has nowhere to land a dingy, let alone a larger boat. So we landed at the edge of the Riverfront complex and scrambled up the rocks.
9/29/2012: Napa River from Napa
View to the river from the Riverfront complext in downtown Napa.
9/29/2012: Downtown Joe’s
We had an excellent lunch on the riverfront patio at Downtown Joe’s Brewery.
9/29/2012: Milagros
We got thirsty after walking about downtown, so stopped for another pint on the patio at Milagros.
9/29/2012: Art
Napa has lots of interesting artwork. This one is outside the County of Napa building.
9/29/2012: Wine train
The Napa Valley Wine Train at the station.
9/29/2012: Sunset
Sunset over Mare Island. We returned downriver to tour the waterfront off Vallejo.
9/29/2012: Coast Guard
The area is well protected–three Coast Guard vessels and a police boat were moored at the north end of the marina.
9/29/2012: Dusk
Dusk from our anchorage.
9/30/2012: Moonset
Moonset the following morning.
9/30/2012: Sunrise
10/2/2012: Dawn
Dawn from the boat deck at Westpoint Harbor. We moved the boat temporarily as the marina is bringing a truck in to fuel a number of boats today.
10/5/2012: South Beach Harbor
We anchored off AT&T Park, just south of downtown San Franciso to take in Fleet Week and the America’s Cup races. We weren’t sure how rough the anchorage might get due to boat wakes and the the afternoon winds, but it turned to be fine. And our view, stretching from downtown San Francisco and across the Bay bridge was amazing. And we could see the America’s Cup fleet moored nearby: in this panoramic photo their 70-foot masts are visible at the west end of the Bay bridge just left of the carrier USS Makin Island.
10/6/2012: Candlestick Point
Yesterday we went to the Blue Angels show and the America’s Cup races. Wow, we had a great time. Today the Giants are playing at AT&T stadium, so our anchorage was very busy with ferries from the Oakland side. We moved south to get a nice spot with beautiful views away from the crowds and distractions that we enjoyed so much yesterday. Candlestick Park, home of the San Francison 49ers, is in the background.
10/13/2012: Dawn
Dawn looking east towards San Francisco. We anchored for the night just east of Golden Gate, tucked southeast of Fort Point. The occasional large wake bounced the boat a bit, but generally conditions were fine–similar to Blake Island Marine park off Seattle. And the view was amazing–San Francisco one way and the Golden Gate Bridge the other. At night, everything was aglow. Were we to be staying in the Bay area longer, we’d definately anchor here often.
10/13/2012: Sunrise
Sunrise over San Francisco.
10/13/2012: Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge in the morning sun.
10/13/2012: Swimmers
180 swimmers were preparing to swim from the St. Francis Yacht Club to Aquatic Park–the large circular basin about a mile east.
10/13/2012: Oakland
We’re going to spend our last couple of weeks in Oakland for a change of pace. So far, we love it here. While we very much enjoyed the pristine and tranquil moorage at Westpoint Harbor Marina, here we’re right in the action. We’ve got an end-tie with a view to all the passing boat traffic reminiscent of the Ballard Ship Canal in Seattle. We’re also just east of the Oakland container port–we love watching the big ships come and go. And we’re seconds from the restaurants and shops of Jack London Square, and close to the amenities in Oakland and Alameda.
10/14/2012: Sunset
Sunset from our moorage, looking to the Oakland shipping terminal with the Bay bridge and San Francisco just visible in the background.
10/18/2012: Rowers
Rowers at dawn, looking east from our boat deck.
10/18/2012: MSC Ivana
Tugs turn the MSC Ivana at the container port. The maneuver must be carefully managed as the massive 366m ship barely fits lengthwise in the channel–that’s shore right off the bow and stern.
10/23/2012: Groceries
A cartload of groceries for the trip to Hawaii–we’re on track to leave tomorrow. We just got the cart this week. It’s light and easily folds flat for storage, and is super useful where no dock carts are available.

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11 comments on “En route to Hawaii
  1. Geoff Miasnik says:

    ALOHA! Jennifer and James,

    We are excited to know that you have arrived safely after an tremendous trip. Time to clean up, rest and enjoy some HAWAIIAN TIME.
    Welcome to the islands. Looking forward to hearing about your travels here.


  2. Roger you are correct. We are often up over 8 its. But we have down as low as 5kts for brief periods. It is the negative impact of wind and current. Right now we are getting a great ride with winds 15kts on the which doesn’t impact speed, very low and period waves, and a substantial push from very favorable currents.

    We run the power up and down to maintain a constant burn rate per mile covered. Right now we are applying 120HP and running at 1800 rpm. RPM doesn’t help much in comparison in that different boats have different props, different reduction gears, and different props.

    The way we travel is we set a required burn rate per mile. This causes us to run faster in favorable condition and slower in unfavorable ensuring we get there well within our fuel budget.


  3. Roger says:

    I noticed that you are sometimes in the 8+ knot range, what RPMs are you running and GPH is that? Have fun hope to make the run in 2014!


  4. Thanks for the greetings from Hawaii Goeff. We’re looking forward to arriving


  5. Good hearing from you Yair You asked if this was vacation or the "big trip". A bit of both. We’re still working full time on at least the early part of the trip and exploring on weekends. But, there is no question that its a big and exciting trip and we’re having a really good time.


  6. Geoff says:

    All the best to you both. Hawaii looks forward to sharing the Aloha when you arrive.

    Oahu, Hawaii

  7. Yair says:

    Safe travels guys!
    Is this a vacation or the start of the Big Trip?

  8. Herman, thanks for the dropping by to visit us at Jack London Square. It’s always fun to meet someone who shares our interests and it was very nice of you to bring a bottle of wine.


  9. Thanks Frank. We just passed south of the Farallon islands and the weather and sea conditions are great.

  10. Herman Buckley says:

    Looking forward to more of your adventures… Have a safe voyage!


  11. Frank Ch. Eigler says:

    Best of luck on this heck of a vacation!

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